USDA makes $30M available for food entrepreneurs

José Otero-García, Rural Development state director for Puerto Rico. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual) José Otero-García, Rural Development state director for Puerto Rico. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual)

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the agency is making $30 million available to farmers, ranchers, and food entrepreneurs to develop new product lines.

Funding will be made available through the USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grant program, the agency chief said Monday.

“Farmers and ranchers are creative people who, with a little help, can put creativity to work and improve the bottom line for their operations,” Vilsack said. “Value-Added Producer Grants enable them to develop new product lines to grow their businesses and expand their contributions to our nation’s economy.

José Otero-García, USDA Rural Development state director for Puerto Rico, said VAPG grants can be used to develop new product lines from raw agricultural or additional uses for already developed product lines.

Military veterans, socially disadvantaged, and beginning farmers and ranchers; operator of small and medium sized family farms and ranches; farmer and rancher cooperatives; and applicants that propose mid-tier value chain projects are given special priority in applying for VAPGs.

Additional priority is given to group applicants who seek funding for projects that “best contribute” to creating or in or increasing marketing opportunities for these type of operators.

Last year, Empresa Norhen Inc. of Moca and Granja Avícola Pujols of San Sebastián received VAPG grants of $100,000 and $156,390, respectively, for working capital.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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